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PiercingMetal’s “Best Of 2006”: The Music

Another exciting year in Metal music has gone by and as a member of the music press, I’m tasked with not only doing reviews here on the website but also in lining out what releases that I felt were the years very best. Initially, this post was going to feature the whole gamut of the years in terms of the music, the videos and the concerts but when my album list went on and on and on I decided to give it a post of its own to go easier on you. Let’s go.

The Best Albums Of 2006

Mercenary “The Hours That Remain” (Century Media Records): A great follow up to “11 Dreams”, this band shows that they are taking chances in Metal.

Mastodon “Blood Mountain” (Warner Brothers): Jazz Fusion Metal? I dunno, but the new Mastodon sure kicks your ass around the block.

Amorphis “Eclipse” (Nuclear Blast Records): Finnish boys return and do more good. Lots of feels on this one.

Scar Symmetry “Pitch Black Effects” (Nuclear Blast Records): Raging guitar solos, soaring clean vocals, brutal death metal growls-brilliant!

Lamb of God “Sacrament” (Epic Records): Their best yet. Future legends. The first four songs are instant classics and if you don’t find your fist in the air for this release you don’t have one. Go watch American Idol

Iron Maiden “A Matter of Life and Death” (EMI Music): Up the Irons, pure and simple. Some bad press from some people who don’t see the return to form. They are idiots.

I “Between Two Worlds” (Nuclear Blast Records): Great project from members of Immortal, Enslaved, and Gorgoroth.

Enslaved “RUUN” (Candlelight Records): The Black Metal titans get even more progressive and this is an incredible listen from start to finish

Satyricon “Now, Diabolical” (Century Media Records): More Metal needs to be like this. A resounding effort that lays waste to that which tries to come close.

Vanden Plas “Christ O” (InsideOut Music): Stunning operatic progressive metal. Their best yet! Especially the bonus track
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“Return To Childhood” by Fish

Artist: Fish
Title: “Return To Childhood”
Label: Snapper Music
Release Date: 6/6/2006
Genre: Progressive Rock
Rating: 8/10

Marillion’s “Misplaced Childhood” is one of the most important albums ever to hit Progressive Rock as far as being commercially appealing. The lyrical poetry of singer Fish (Derek Dick) brought the music to life with its vivid and detailed storytelling. When Fish left the band Marillion became an entirely different entity while Fish continued to perform under his original and established model. His releases “Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors” and “Internal Exile” showed that he would not lose his touch or style. Since his departure Fish has released eight albums while Marillion has done about the same yet despite their individuality it always boiled down to “Misplaced Childhood” as being one of the lynchpins in their mutual successes. Marillion today hardly leans of any “Fish-era” tunes while Fish himself always makes a good number of them part of his performance. As the principle writer of the material he has every right to this and should not be lambasted as “living off” his Marillion years. One could hardly accuse Roger Waters of Pink Floyd of this, so Fish deserves the same respects. Because of his touring and his frequent requests to do something to celebrate these years Fish gives us this live recording which is a double CD of musical treasures. Not only do we find Fish classics but we also have Marillion staples; the biggest part of the package is the full performance of “Misplaced Childhood”. Recorded in 2005 we find a more mature Fish holding court with his six-piece band and delivering the music with a newfound zeal and appreciation. Many feel that “Clutching At Straws” was the bands signature Fish epic, but I am among many who feel the glory rests in “Misplaced” being that particular release.
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“Live From Loreley” by Marillion

Artist: Marillion
Title: “Live From Loreley”
Label: EMI Music
Release Date: 9/14/2004
Genre: Progressive Rock
Rating: 8/10

Delivered as a follow-up to their “Recital Of The Script” DVD (which featured “Script For A Jester’s Tear” performed in its entirety) – Marillion gives their fans another out of print VHS on a better quality format. “Live At Loreley” finds the band a few years later in their career as they were supporting the release “Clutching At Straws”; this would be the bands fourth album and Fish’s last recording with them before he embarked on his solo career. Filmed at an outdoor festival type setting in front of some 18,000 fans we see a seasoned Marillion, confident in their music and in the eyes of their dedicated fans. The fourth album gives us a Marillion that had a huge following in Europe but sadly only marginal interest here in the States; an unfortunate truth considering the level of music they were doing. Despite the heavy amounts of Progressive goings on with their first two albums, the third and fourth really had unlimited potential on Rock radio of the day but somewhere along the line, the people in charge were just not paying attention. As a result, far too many people missed something that should have been a lot bigger than it actually was able to become. The great part about this DVD is one gets to see just how good Marillion was in concert during the “Fish years” as they are now referenced. The lineup of Fish, Mosely, Trewavas, Kelly and Rothery had something special going on and if you were listening to the Progressive goings on back then you would have been ahead of most people on this group. I have observed Marillion fans being among the most loyal of most music fans that I have ever met
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“Bouillabaisse: The Best Of Fish” by Fish

Artist: Fish
Title: “Bouillabaisse: The Best Of Fish”
Label: Snapper Music
Release Date: 10/25/2005
Genre: Progressive Rock
Rating: 7/10

It seems almost a lifetime ago that Poet Singer Derek Dick left the Progressive Rock giant Marillion for a solo career. Derek, who everyone knows as Fish was a key part of the bands original success with his lyrical thoughts that were more poetry than songs. His stage presence very strongly inspired by Peter Gabriel era Genesis, Fish often wore makeup and costumes on stage. I viewed the early Marillion CD’s were works of genius all together and the group took a wide angle change when Fish decided to leave and pursue his own endeavors. The CD release of “Bouillabaisse: The Best Of Fish” is a two CD collection broken up into one CD called “The Balladeer” while the other bears the label “The Rocketeer”. I will speak on each of them separately to make more sense of the release.
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“Recital Of The Script” [DVD] by Marillion

Artist: Marillion
Title: “Recital Of The Script”
Label: EMI Music
Release Date: 11/2003?
Genre: Progressive Rock
Rating: 7/10

Several years ago a close Friend of mine loaned me the “Misplaced Childhood” CD from Marillion. It soon became one of my very favorite pieces of music. The richly textured songs combined with the poetic lyrical arrangements made this the case. I would find myself looking for one particular song to enjoy and end up listening to the entire CD again and again. Marillion was one of those groups that you either liked immediately or did not even care about. It is a shame that some fine acts always fall into this mode with people. When I first heard them, I was totally into them. Over the past two decades of its existence Marillion has gone through lead singer changes (Fish left to be replaced by Steve Hogarth) and somewhat of a musical direction change. Albums had more “single” type songs than previous albums had. This DVD showcases the talents of the first lead Singer Derek Dick a.k.a. “Fish”.
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